Posted by: jility | February 28, 2011

The Observational Skills of Man

It was about 6 AM. Sir Cussalot got out of bed, dressed and let out the dogs. I, being the lazy bum that I am, rolled over, pulled the covers up tight and closed my eyes. I could hear Sir C as he shuffled all the dogs out the door to potty before breakfast. Normally, I feed them but when they are headed to the groomer for a 7:30 appointment, Sir C does early much better than I and I SO appreciate that!

Dogs pottied and back in from the chilly morning air, they all took their regular places in the Global Warmer while Sir C prepared their breakfast. Isabella’s spot is on the couch on top of a cushy dog bed. It is the BEST spot in the house and all the girls want it but it belongs to the Queen and nobody else! If somebody else takes her place, which often happens, she will bark at us until we make that place stealer vacate HER spot! First, she tries Sir C but he doesn’t acknowledge, or even notice for that matter, the 23″ dog screaming in his face. So then she comes to me to tell me to make Grampa get whichever dog it is OFF HER SPOT!!! Sir C’s seat is right next to Isabella’s spot so it is easy for him to turn around and tell the spot thief to get out of the Queen’s throne.

Sometimes Isabella will go to the door and start barking. This will work for all spot thieves except MeMe (who is smarter than that). The dog in her spot will get up and run to the door to see why Isabella is barking. As soon as they move, Isabella jumps into her pea pod bed perched on the sofa. It is hysterical to watch her try to outsmart the other dogs. Sometimes she wins and sometimes they just ignore her because she has cried wolf too many times.

So as I am lying there, I hear Sir C putting down food bowls for the girls. Isabella is fed last and in another section of the Global Warmer because she has to eat vegan and we are afraid she might get some of the real stuff and get sick. Then I hear him say, “Isabella! Come get your dinner!”

No response.

So he tries again, “Isabella! DINNER!” he coaxes. Then Sir C yells to me in the bedroom (the door is closed so the naughty puppies won’t come in and jump on my head), “Isabella won’t get up to eat!” Isabella is a chow hound so when she doesn’t want to eat, call 911.

“Was she OK when she went out to potty?” I ask him through the door.

“I guess. She got up fine and went out,” he replies.

Then I hear him again trying to get her to get off the couch bed, “Come on Isabelle!!! GET UP!! We have to go for a ride in the car!”

Still nothing.

“She won’t get up!” he yells to me.

Then I hear him again trying to coax her up so he puts his hand on her back and pulls her to get her out of the bed.

I hear a big FLOP and I know exactly what is going on but Sir C is still trying to coax poor Isabella to get up and go eat.

“She can’t walk,” he says! “Isabella can’t walk! She won’t move!”

By this time, I have crawled out of bed and was heading out to the living room. Before I even see her I ask, “Mel, is she having a seizure?”

“Oh, (big pause as he now finally really looks at her) maybe,” he says quietly.

I take one look at poor Isabella lying on the floor (thank GOD for all the dog beds next to the sofa! She had landed right in the middle of one) and see that she is in the middle of a seizure!

Now, to Mel’s defense, Isabella doesn’t have grand mal seizures where they flop around like a flounder out of water. She has what they call “partial” or “focal” seizures. She vibrates and stares blankly. She looks a lot like a newborn foal. Sometimes she poops or pees but she had just been out so that didn’t happen this time. She also has had what the vets and neurologists call “paralytic seizures.” Her left hind leg goes stiff and she can’t use it. She has had this type of seizure since she was three. Sometimes she will also go into a corner and just pointlessly dig. That is also a form of seizure.

So Isabella’s seizures are not the “normal” kind that are easy to spot but still, even a half blind person (of the female variety) could tell something wasn’t right just by looking at her!

The seizure lasted a LONG time. She has not had one that I know of for a year. She is on medication but might have not swallowed one of her pills or who knows why she had it. It seemed like an eternity before she could stand and walk again but, eventually, she did. Sir C left with the other dogs for the groomer but Isabella got to stay home with me. She is fine now and actually, on her way to the groomer as I type.

That was not the first time Sr C’s uncanny observational skills were put to the test. About four years ago we were at the AKC Agility Nationals. I had fallen out of the GW and was on crutches so Sir C had to run Isabella for me along with his own dogs. Sir C isn’t much crazy about pressure or big events so he was not a happy camper that he had to run my dog too. He was fairly new to agility then as well and not very confident (not that THAT has changed much ;)).  Anyway, he was out on the course the first day. I was watching from above in the stands and videotaping the run. About three or four jumps in, I see Isabella start to drag her left hind leg. CRAP!!!! I knew she was having one of her paralytic seizures in the ring! But Sir C’s superior observational skills must have been overridden by his nerves because he hadn’t noticed that she was getting slower and slower and looked like Quasimodo as he tried to drag her along behind him. I kept hoping he would notice something was wrong but clearly he didn’t. I could hear him yelling, “C’mon Isabella! Let’s GO!” as he tried to encourage her to run faster. I didn’t want to embarrass him but I couldn’t stand it any longer so I started yelling at him from the stands, “STOP!!! MEL! STOP!!!” Poor honest Isabella came along with him as best she could, limping and dragging her uncooperative dead leg behind her as they approached the triple jump! I was too late, just as I got the nerve to yell, Isabella crashed through the triple. She just didn’t have enough to get her over it with only one back leg working. Sir C heard the crash and turned around to see her pull up to a stop. Then he heard me yelling and looked up. I knew he wouldn’t be happy I yelled but I had no choice. It was too painful to watch.

Afterwards, I asked him why he hadn’t noticed that Isabella was three legged. He said he thought she was just slow (in all honesty, she wasn’t the fastest dog on the planet). He was not happy that I had humiliated him in front of everyone at Nationals but I didn’t know what else to do at the time. I suppose he might have noticed her leg didn’t work if she had come to a complete stop and the leg was dangling on the ground.

Sir C is actually a very brilliant man. In his real life he was an electrical engineer. He designed satellite trackers, worked on the fuel gauge design for the Apollo Space Mission as well as It’s a Small World at Disneyland (to this day the mere hint of that song makes him go crazy because he heard is billion times as they synced the song to the mechanical people). He designed some pretty freaky shit in his time as an engineer (like the prototype of the moving TV dishes we have today on the RVs that track the satellite no matter where you are or how much you move). So it is not that he is dumb, he just doesn’t notice shit. I am sure there is a logical biological explanation for that but I don’t know for sure what it is. Perhaps it was so that prehistoric man continued the hunt no matter what was happening around them. Who knows? Whatever the reason, it is that same gene that prevents men from finding stuff that is staring them right in the face.

 I am always amazed at how little most men see in this world! I know Sir C is not the only one because I hear women complaining and laughing about it all the time. There are so many reasons why women were meant to be the caregivers and this is just another. As my friend Claudia says, “Better buy good health care insurance for the old age home now ’cause you sure don’t want your husband taking care of you!”


  1. wow, that is quite a story. I can just picture the scene out there…. you must have had your heart in your throat.
    My little harley had the same type of seizures….
    I’m happy she is better now.
    men, they make ya wonder don’t they, even though we love ’em.

  2. Ha ha, no it is NOT just Sir C. 😉 Sidenote, my son has just started working in the carpenter trade and is working on the Little Mermaid ride alongside the Disney guys. He’s loving it.

  3. Amen, Helen, once again you’ve hit the nail on it’s poor little head! Men can be sooooo blind and deaf but then every little once in a while something happens and they see the light.

  4. I just love Isabella so much. Is she back to her royal self?

    • She is fine 🙂

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